Are you a fan of “The Bachelor”? Whether or not you ever tune into the ABC hit show, this week’s episode is worth discussing as it brings up a very important topic: Orgasms. Or rather, the lack thereof.
Yes, on the latest episode of “The Bachelor,” contestant Raven Gates told bachelor Nick Viall that she has a very limited sexual history (just one partner) and that “He never made me orgasm.”
Talk about a bomb-drop on national T.V.! Instantly, the television audience went into overdrive. Some people even started a GoFundMe to buy Raven a vibrator. (The vibrator in question? The Hitachi Magic Wand. Hey, at least they picked a classic! I often recommend the Hitachi to newbies myself.)
But, here’s the thing: The way Raven phrased her lack of orgasms is kind of problematic, i.e. “He never made me have an orgasm.”
I find this passive line of thinking to be an epidemic when it comes to women and their sexual response. Because we are told from an early age that “nice girls don’t have sex,” when it is finally time to let loose and be sexual, many women can’t let go of their inhibitions and wholly enjoy themselves. And more importantly, they take a backseat when it comes to the sexual experience. Not only do they not initiate sex, but they also do not behave as an active participant, but rather as a passive recipient. They complain “He didn’t give me orgasms,” as if orgasms are something that a man must deliver to a woman, rather than something both partners can create together.
It’s not a man’s duty to deliver orgasms to his partner on a silver platter. In fact, I find that most men CANNOT deliver orgasms to women (as much as they want to), if the woman is not first attune with her own sexual response and anatomy. Simply put: If you don’t know how to make yourself reach orgasm, how can you expect your partner to? What works for one woman will not necessarily work for another, so even if your partner is an experienced and giving lover, he is not going to be able to automatically know what works for you and how you like to be touched. If orgasms are the destination, then you should think of yourself as the guiding light, showing your partner the way. That means discovering sexual pleasure on your own, whether that means via self-stimulation, reading erotica, a few basic anatomy lessons or even watching pornography. (Yes, there is female-friendly pornography!)
That being said, of course, a caring and passionate lover will make sure that their partner enjoys the experience as much as they do, but that doesn’t mean that women should wait for sexual pleasure to fall in their laps. I think many women suffer from a “Hollywood romance” mentality, in which they believe that passion happens all on its own, and that all a woman has to do is simply show up and she will have great sex. Not so! The more you are aware of your own anatomy and the more energy you put into your intimacy, the more you will be rewarded…not only with orgasms, but with increased connection, confidence and whole-body awareness.
To me, that is the key that so many women are lacking in the bedroom: Awareness. They tend to ‘vacate’ their bodies during sex*, opting to be part of the audience rather than the heroine.
In fact, I would wager a bet that the reason why so many women love E.L. James’ “50 Shades of Grey” series is not just because Christian Grey is a hunky, broody billionaire, but because he acts as the catalyst in the bedroom. From start to finish, Anastasia’s orgasms are in his hands, meaning she doesn’t have to do much but show up. In return, she gets mind-blowing sex.
But you know what happens in the real world when you just show up? Well, for one thing, you aren’t a very enjoyable partner for your lover. But, for the other, you miss out on real, life-changing sexual pleasure. When you just show up, you don’t get mind-blowing sex. You get hum-drum, ehh, this is it? kind of sex.
So what am I asking you to do? Turn into a femme fatale overnight?
Not at all. In fact, I don’t want you to do anything. You don’t have to buy lingerie or attack your partner with sexual advances or start hanging from the ceiling during sex. No, all I am asking you to do is to invite yourself into the bedroom. To actually be present. Be vulnerable. Let yourself be seen. Bring awareness to your love-making.
Set an intention to remain present during sex—eyes open, heart open, sprit open—and keep that intention in mind throughout intimacy. When you feel yourself drifting away or getting inhibited, just notice that. Bring awareness to it. Say to yourself, “Wow, I can feel myself getting really nervous right away. This eye contact is really overwhelming me.” And then just let that be okay. Let it be okay to be scared. To feel foolish. To think “Heck, this is awkward!” Just let all that be okay. No judgments.
Finally, I will say this: While Raven could probably benefit from taking more of a starring role in her sexual experiences, I think she is completely on the right track as far as being honest with Nick. Rather than faking orgasms or pretending to have a storied history of sexual conquests, she was completely authentic about her lack of expertise and her own lack of orgasms. That took major guts and I applaud her for that. Honesty is the most important foundation for any relationship, especially when it comes to a sexual relationship. Just as you should not bring judgements into the bedroom, also try to leave behind any pretense. You’re enough. You, exactly as you are, with no acting, no air-brushing, no crazy yoga flexibility or wild sexual fantasies…You are enough.
And…it bears repeating: The Hitachi Magic Wand is a great buy, but if you are looking for a vibrator small enough to use with your partner during intimacy, consider the Athena. The Aphrodite is a good option for a large vibrator.
*(It’s important to note that many sexual abuse victims ‘check out’ during sex as a coping mechanism, and if you think this could be happening with you, I encourage you to speak to your doctor or therapist. You can visit RAINN to find resources in your area, or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-656-4673.)